fixing the sales process

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  • Consider how using feedback loops could be used to evaluate and improve Baria’s situation. Based on you causal loop diagrams, consider what solutions Baria could implement that might be effective.

For this assignment:

    • Using a formal systems diagramming approach, analyze Baria’s performance and develop a robust effect-cause-effect tree diagram using the 5-Whys tool, as you did previously in the course.
    • Create an appropriate, causal loop diagram that incorporates relevant and logical feedback loops to capture the fundamental system behaviors, outcomes, and causes in the Baria Planning Solutions case study. See the rubric for details on what this diagram should contain. The diagram itself can be hand-drawn or drawn with software. Tables are not appropriate; it must be in the form of a diagram. (Hint: The key is to think about a causal loop diagram (also called a CLD) that incorporates relevant and logical feedback cycles that loop back to reinforce the cause-effect relationships or balance them. Note the emphasis on the additional feedback loops. The addition of feedback loops to the diagram moves the analysis beyond a simple single causal loop to a diagram showing multiple interactions, including balancing and reinforcing feedback, goals, and delays Examples can be found in the Senge text on p. 87 and 89, with an explanation on p. 83 – 91)
    • Write a summary description, including specific recommendations, that links directly to your 5-why and CLD analyses for improving Baria’s sales support operations and organization as a whole. (1 single spaced page)

  • Gap analysis can be applicable to systems in all types of organizations. For example, as you review the case study “Starbucks: Delivering customer service,” consider the issues related to customer satisfaction facing Starbucks. Consider how systems thinking might provide insights. Think of changes you might make to the company’s processes that may offer improvements.

Prepare the following: 3-4 paragraphs in length

    • A description of the root causes that are creating negative outcomes at the Starbucks, based on both a “5-Whys” and a basic systems analysis (Hint: Refer to the Weekly Briefing for more information about a basic systems analysis.)
    • A specific explanation, based on your systems analysis, of how you would improve the system (for example, this could include ways to eliminate negative feedback loops or other negative branches of the system)
    • A description of the lessons you learned from this case study and how those might apply to your organization or one with which you are familiar
    • Be sure to attach your Word document (or other document/image) that includes your diagrams with a summary analysis, so that your peers can review and learn from your work.


Meadows, D. H. (2008). Thinking in systems: A primer. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green.Chapter 2, “A Brief Visit to the Systems Zoo” (pp. 35–72)

Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Chapter 5, “A Shift of Mind” (pp. 68–91)

Chapter 6, “Nature’s Templates: Identifying the Patterns That Control Events” (pp. 92–112)

Appendix 2, “Systems Archetypes” (pp. 390–400)

Moon, Y., & Quelch, J. (2018). Starbucks: Delivering customer service [Case study]. HBS Case 9-504-016. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School. Retrieved from

Wheelwright, S. C., & Schmidt, W. (2011). Baria Planning Solutions, Inc.: Fixing the sales process [Case study]. HBS Case 4568.Boston, MA: Harvard Business School. Retrieved from

Week 3 Weekly Briefing (PDF)

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